Letters, March 25 2016

Discrimination against elderly?

How much I feel for M Reynolds (Letters, March 18) and the difficulties of paying Great Yarmouth Borough Council other than electronically. I feel it is terrible that our council refuses payment by cash. Indeed, I am uncertain of the legality of declining payment by legal tender.

The new Borough News “urges” us to order a Resident Advantage Card, but the access is via www.etc. The only reason why I am without one, although I am a local resident, is the absence of any council office where I can walk in and pay for one.

It is not only the elderly who do not or, for good reasons, choose not to use websites and online banking. We deserve better consideration and to not be discriminated against.


Lowestoft Road,


Most Read

We voted here against a mayor

Having listened to the news over the last few days regarding Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge merging, and last week the Chancellor, I’m wondering if I had a dream a couple of years ago. Did we not vote in a referendum that we did not want an all powerful Mayor here? We now appear to be getting one whether we like it or not.

Is this really democracy at work, and is any referendum (you know what I mean) going to be listened to? Seems like we get the short straw again. Just wanted to get that off my chest.



Angels of the Acle Straight

In 1830, Robert Cory built the Acle Straight, one year after he constructed the ill-fated Great Yarmouth Suspension Bridge – the scene of a major disaster on May 2, 1845.

I spent two years of my life annoying the people of Yarmouth by telling the story and collecting their money which went towards the memorial where the bridge once stood.

The Acle Straight is the entrance to our town to connect Great Yarmouth to the rest of the country but over the last 186 years the road has been forgotten about. It has claimed many lives due to accidents which also bring the town to a standstill.

There have been many promises to update the road but it has never happened. I wrote to highways who tried to make more excuses but my faith in them has been lost.

I have also complained four times since November about 40 road lights that have been on everyday between the Gapton roundabout and just past the James Paget Hospital. Some towns have turned off their lights to save energy!

I can now see how the Acle Straight has been overlooked. I have started a petition on Facebook with a page called “Angels of The Acle Straight”, which tells you all about the history of the road.

It takes less than a minute to sign and it can try and force the government to look again at this road. I believe people are fed up of the excuses and for the sake of the town’s future a change to the Acle Straight is now badly needed.



The GYM likes letter from MS

So the RSC has turned down the bid from the DNEAT following the appointment of an IEB, all with the knowledge of NCC. (Mercury, March 18).

Two years ago IT held talks with GYH about sponsorship, but there was little in the way of any sort of positive outcome. Neither OAT nor CET were available for comment at the time of going to press. Meanwhile the DofE remains tight-lipped.

Thank you so much for such clarity. At long last I now understand why abbreviation is such a long word and why it takes longer to say w.w.w. than World Wide Web.


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Equipment can be rather testy

What a lot of nonsense we hear people speaking on the radio these days. For instance, “Don’t pick an argument with the equipment, although it sounds testy.” What is that supposed to mean?

Miss R A RENTWURDEN, Stonecutters Way, Great Yarmouth

Happy with the Pontins decision

I was reading an article about the Pontin’s holiday camp at Hemsby and saw with interest the planning application for houses on the site had been turned down. I am happy with this decision as the site is a tourism spot. I would like to see the site cleaned up and retained as a holiday camp.


St Margaret’s Way,


Dedicated site for the retired

There was interesting letter in the Mercury regarding future possible uses of the former Pontin’s holiday side ie as a site for retirement homes. This is badly needed.

There are many older folk in the Great Yarmouth area who would like to downsize but retain their independence with their own home. Bungalows are few and far between and are quite expensive – I suppose it is because they occupy more land that the three-floor townhouses that seem to be springing up. Impossible for an older person to live in because of all the stairs!

There are retirement estates in Norfolk, but too far away from family and friends for us to consider moving there.

I would love to be able to live on the Pontin’s site, a daily walk into the village for shopping essentials and a walk on the beach as well. What a lovely way to spent our final years.

I would be interested to know what the people of Hemsby think about this idea: a derelict site for the forseeable future or a housing estate for retired people with an income to spend all-year round.

Isn’t it about time thought was given to us older folk?



A clear case of discrimination

Reading your letters online last week I was astonished to find your local council do not accept payment by cheque or cash, only by banker’s card, for a one-off payment.

Considering the correspondent was an elderly lady, at least I am presuming that, I would have thought this is clearly a case of discrimination against a section of society. I would urge your correspondent to take up the matter with a legal expert who will take the case on for free!




Queen missed out on Dunkirk

I have read with interest the recent articles on the Queen of the Broads and other boats and would like to add part of her history which seems to have been lost.

In late May 1940 the Naval Authorities at Ramsgate running the Dunkirk evacuation asked Yarmouth to send small boats to to help the operation. In response Yarmouth gathered the Queen and a similar sized vessel plus about 6 or 7 smaller craft – mainly shrimpers.

My uncle, Skipper Leslie Balls, was to captain this little flotilla but recruiting crews was not easy and those willing to go asked to get the first train home.

The group set off with the larger vessels towing the smaller ones. Their destination was Ramsgate. The sea was calm and their instruction not to steam at night was ignored so in 24 hours they were within 20 miles of their goal when a Navy Destroyer hove in sight

The Destroyer’s Captain immediately realised their destination and assembled most of his men on deck to cheer the crews. Through his loud-hailer the Captain wished them good luck in their dangerous mission before steaming away. The flotilla’s crew were shattered by the Destroyer’s message and, after discussing it, they appealed to the skipper to let them go to Dunkirk.

He accepted the new plan but first they had to report to Ramsgate for orders. When they approached the port the last few vessels with soldiers were still entering it so they were not allowed in. As they waited, instructions came to return to Yarmouth. Dunkirk was over.

These events were the basis of a radio play entitled “The First Train Home” broadcast by the BBC in 1962.



Strong and Well project thanks

Thank you to all the people who completed the Great Yarmouth Older Peoples Network questionnaire. The Strong and Well project was commissioned by Norfolk County Council. We worked in partnership with other organisations that care for older people and were able to take the questionnaire to many venues, so our thanks also go to the managers of those establishments.

We had a very successful conference on Wednesday, March 16, where our findings were recounted to the attendees and we were fortunate in having Catherine Underwood, the deputy director adult social services, give a talk on Norfolk County Council’s promoting independence strategy.

The information gathered will be invaluable to take forward to Norfolk County Council adult services, and make them aware of the way people see their lives now and in the future. Should anyone like further information about the GYOPN please feel free to contact me c/o DIAL, Kingside, King Street, Great Yarmouth.



Great Yarmouth Older Peoples Network

Does anyone plan roadworks?

I would love to know what Norfolk County Council’s traffic planning and roadworks department, or whatever they call themselves nowadays, actually do. Because planning and pro-actively preventing traffic congestion doesn’t seem to be their forte from what I’ve witnessed in the past few weeks.

For example, there is a new property being developed on Mill Lane, Bradwell which is needing a gas, water and an electric supply - which seems to be a pretty standard request to make when a new home is being built.

So instead of facilitating the one set of roadworks, where all these utility companies can complete their tasks and traffic congestion is limited as a result, instead they allow the road to be closed for over a week for electric to be supplied to the property. Then a week later, they permitted a partial road closure for three days and installed a traffic light system so the gas could be supplied.

… And I’ve now heard that during Easter there will be further work carried out to supply water to the property which will just add more travel disruption and inconvenience to residents.

No doubt during the Easter break we’ll see more walls knocked down by cars trying to turn round when they realise the road is closed, or we may see the occasional impatient driver again who thinks it’s a good idea to move the roadworks to one side and make a ramp across the hole in the road and then drive over.

It’s all pretty ridiculous if you ask me and it’s no surprise there was an air of incompetence that led to the traffic chaos in the town the other week if this is anything to go by.

No doubt the blame will be shifted elsewhere which is so often for things like this.

Name and Address withheld

Kindness of two paramedics

I am extremely grateful to the two highly skilled paramedics whose courtesy, care and compassion were exemplary. I wish to record my appreciation of their kindness to both myself and to a family member.


Addison Road,


Who will face bins liability?

Now, let me get this straight… the members of our erstwhile council cabinet want us good citizens of the borough to “present” our wheelie bins on pavements or grass verges. Furthermore, we are to make sure this is not done in a manner which will cause an obstruction.

I am not the brightest candle on the cake but I do believe even items smaller than a cigarette packet can be dangerous if left on pavements, so how on earth is it possible to place a wheelie, which is about 27ins deep x 22ins wide x 40ins high on a footpath and not have it considered to be an obstruction?

If this move is taking place over fears of health and safety then those who really need clear pavements such as wheelchair or wheeled support users, the infirm, partially-sighted, elderly with their sticks and shopping, and mums with prams, trolleys and broods should have no worries at all.

Who would be responsible is somebody did get hurt by contact with a wheelie? Would it be the Cabinet (no way!), or the householder (you had better believe it)? You don’t have to trip or bump into wheelies to get hurt – in a strong wind they will come looking for you.

As for grass verges, I wonder if the operator of the mechanical cutter who mows them has to move wheelies out of his way or go around them.

Let’s face it, this is all about refuse crews and the distance and accessibility of bins in relation to the parking of their trucks. Therefore, in order to make their work easier the cabinet has agreed to the published changes, and has done so under the guise of that old chestnut “health and safety”.

But by doing so hasn’t it transferred risk from refuse crews to the general public?


Hill Avenue,


New school too close to roads

Great Yarmouth and District TUC notes that no planning permission is required for the Trafalgar Free School owing to changes in legislation resulting in the loss of industrial land without local consultation.

Furthermore it is concerned that the location of the school, next to a busy arterial route is both dangerous in terms of risk of collision and also in regard to pollution from exhaust fumes impacting on our children’s health. Factors that could have been considered if proper consultation had occurred, factors parents will have to consider in determining if their child is to attend the school.


Secretary on behalf of GYTUC

Any photos of Charles Street?

From 1948 until approximately 1957/8, I was brought up in a very small house in John Street, Great Yarmouth which was a small street off Charles Street. I can recall the house suffering from the 1953 floods but also have many happy memories of my time living there.

My father, Donald, worked for many years at Henry Sutton’s fish house on Charles Street which I believe caught fire sometime during the 1950s.

Sadly, I have been unable to find any photographs of John Street, Charles Street, the fish house or of the surrounding area such as Adam and Eve Garden, Woodgers Buildings (I believe that’s what they were called) or any other houses around the Charles Street area. I would like to ask if any of your readers might have some photographs that I could possibly have copies, which I would happily pay for.

I can be contacted by email at lynnandtel@btinternet.com


Ormesby St Margaret

Car accident assistance help

Unfortunately, we were involved in a car accident in Ormond Road, Great Yarmouth on March 22 and would like to give our thanks to the police and ambulance services for the way everyone was treated. Special thanks also to the local people and neighbours for their care and offers of help that everyone involved received.

F and M SHAW

Northgate Street,

Great Yarmouth